Israeli teachers flee to high-tech, leaving education system in short supply

Low salary, burnout, demanding and unappreciative parents, and a system that never had their backs when needed - the hurdlers were too many to handle for some teachers, who decided to look for a new career path

Anat Lev Adler|
More and more Israeli school teachers have been abandoning the sinking ship called the education system, in what appears to be a worrying, new and growing phenomenon.
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  • They say they became fed up with low salaries, disrespectful attitude of parents, the lack of support of the education system and unstable policies of the Education Ministry. While looking for alternative career paths, many found it in the booming high-tech sector.
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    דנית ינוביץ'
    דנית ינוביץ'
    Danit Yenovich
    (Photo: Avigail Uzi)
    "The kids are getting the real education only during their military service anyway, as far as we're concerned, you're nothing more than a babysitter," one of the parents said to Danit Yenovich, 30, who recently quit her job in the education system.
    Yenovich said she had dreamt of becoming a teacher since she was eight years old. But, the reality of working in the education sector was nothing like she had hoped it would be. "Parents would disrespect me, while the education system didn't have my back," she said.
    Yenovich was born in the United States to Israeli parents, she worked as a teacher for four years at a school in New York City. When she made Aliyah eight years ago, it was clear that she would continue her path as a teacher.
    But two years of working at Israeli schools were enough for her to leave her dream behind.
    Today, she's a marketing director at vCita, which provides a management platform for small businesses, and has been at the company for three years.
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    עומר סלומון
    עומר סלומון
    Omer Salomon
    (Photo: Orel Cohen)
    Omer Salomon, a 40-year-old from Tel Aviv, is currently VP of employee experience and development at the Israeli software security company Checkmarx.
    Salomon comes from a family of educators. His mother and three sisters are teachers and education system workers. So, he too completed his bachelor's degree in Hebrew, obtained a teacher certification. But, when him and his partner had their first child five years ago, he decided it was time to finally follow through with his dream and become a teacher.
    However, it took him only one year of working at a school in Tel Aviv to realize that with the teacher's salary, his family will be left without a home.
    "I grew up in the world of corporate training and development, I worked at a large phone company and a retail company, but I never gave up up on my dream. I left the business sector and went to become a teacher," Salomon said.
    "But, my dream was quickly shattered. I realized that it was impossible to be a teacher and earn a proper living. I was a teacher for a year, and when they offered me to continue, I didn't want to. First of all, it was a salary you can't live on - NIS 6,000 ($1730) a month.
    "Teachers even have to pay for their own coffee, I didn't know that at first, and when I made my first cup of coffee everyone looked at me weird. Then, during a family dinner, I told that to my mother and sisters and they said: 'Oh, of course, don't you know teachers buy their coffee at their own expense?' I was shocked."
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    פתיחת שנת הלימודים באזור
    פתיחת שנת הלימודים באזור
    A teacher stands in front of schoolchildren
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    Dubi Lax CEO of HackerU, a training and education center preparing Israelis for the transition to the high-tech industry, is very familiar with the process of teachers fleeing to the tech sector.
    "We see a significant increase in the number of people at our center in recent years, with an emphasis on teachers looking to join the high-tech sector. As far as we're concerned, teachers have a very high chance of completing the training because they understand methodology and they arrive with an essential kit of tools like math, science, technology, and English," says Lax.
    "There are dozens of educators coming each year to our center, and we are just one company [of many] that offers this services."
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